A New Jersey man whose Twitter handle—@StC—is also the initials of a Saudi Arabian telecommunications company has attracted thousands Saudi followers on the micro messaging service.
Chris Rowland—a 44-year-old programmer and web developer who goes by his college nickname, St. Chris—has been @StC on Twitter since March 2007. Rowland started to notice a wave of new followers late last month. He now has more than 5,000.
"This is all very surreal," Rowland told Yahoo News.
"Reminder for my Saudi followers: I am not the telecom company," Rowland wrote on Twitter on July 31. "I'm a guy in New Jersey."
"I cannot believe how fast I am gaining Twitter followers," he wrote on Aug. 2. "This is surreal. 93% of my followers are 6,500 miles away. 93% of my followers. A day ago, I don't think I even had 93 followers."
Rowland even changed his Twitter profile in an attempt to curb the confusion: "I am neither a Saudi phone company nor a shopping mall in Jakarta. But I'm pleased to make your acquaintance."
The Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based Saudi Telecom Company—or STC—has not contacted him, Rowland said. "Sort of amazingly, no."
He's nonetheless been inundated with inquiries from STC customers.
"To my Saudi followers: You guys are great," he tweeted. "I wish I COULD fix your phone company."
On his blog—Idiozeitgeist.com—Rowland said he's enjoying the attention: "This is pretty amazing and fun," he wrote. "If I'd realized that my Twitter account would gain 2,000 followers from Saudi Arabia in the span of 24 hours, I'd have written a nice blog post for you to come here and read."
He added: "I hate to disappoint an audience—particularly an audience larger than I've ever had in my life—so I'll write something worthwhile. Might take a few days before I really have the time. Meanwhile, I'll still be on Twitter."
Would St. Chris consider giving up @StC?
"I've been using 'stc' as a computer username since before there was a World Wide Web," he tweeted. "Seriously. That long. Not gonna sell it."